Using Waste to Manage Waste
Sangti, India
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Location:
Sangti, India
Category:
infrastructure
Phase:
design development
Updated:
8 October 2021
A community architecture project to build a Material Recovery Facility using waste materials generated by the community. The master plan also includes a meeting place and a playground, to be built using waste, to create new avenues for public engagement with waste management processes. The project intends to change the community’s relationship with waste and challenge the notion of invisibility and undesirability of waste management infrastructures through architecture.
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Introduction
Waste management is still an alien concept in the remote mountain villages of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India and Sangti was no exception until Northeast Waste Collective began a waste management initiative in the village in January 2020. Earlier, unaware of the consequences, the Monpa tribe inhabiting Sangti were either burning their inorganic waste or dumping it into the river flowing through the village, open lands or mountain slopes. Now, although aware, the community lacks a permanent waste management infrastructure and motivated waste workers. Space for the waste management infrastructure has been provided by the community but in an unused plot of land at the periphery of the village, which lends itself invisible to the public eye. A section of the community still continues to be averse to the idea of working in the waste management sector. 

This community architecture project, envisioned to be built using waste materials, will not only enable circular economy practices by facilitating recycling but will itself serve as an example of a circular economy practice through its design. The master plan includes a meeting place and a playground along with the Material Recovery Facility to demonstrate that it is possible to avoid the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) effect by integrating other activities intended for community use with the waste management infrastructure. The project, through its design, not only strives to positively impact the relationship the community has with waste but also address how the community can support itself, in terms of the waste it generates, in a way that visibly engages and benefits the community. 
Clean up drive in the village- Ittisha and Mon Stars ( a group of children from the community actively participating in the waste management initiative)

image: Merwyn Coutinho | © all rights reserved
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Impact
This project initiative proposes to make Sangti a Zero Waste Community as defined by Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). By building a zero waste infrastructure and enabling the community to adopt the goal of Zero Waste that uses ZWIA definition of Zero Waste as summarized here:

All discarded materials are resources
Resources should not be burned or buried
Goal is zero air, water and land emissions;
this initiative aims at achieving 90% or more diversion of all discarded resources from landfills, incinerators and the environment as defined in ZWIA Global Principles for Zero Waste Communities. 

Implementation of this project will not only help the community safeguard their health and environment but also create livelihood opportunities as earning the tag of 'Zero Waste Village' will help boost the local economy through tourism. With the infrastructure in place and the transfer of technical know-how, the community will be better equipped to promote responsible tourism in the village. The waste management system will directly benefit the 1200 people inhabiting Sangti and will also create green jobs for the waste collectors and managers. 

The vision for Sangti, co-created with the community is a 5 year plan in which the theme of the 1st year is waste management followed by renewable energy, biodiversity conservation, water management and natural farming. Achieving the first goal of 'Zero Waste Village' will enable the youth to see opportunities of growth in their own village and discourage them from migrating to cities for employment. It will also encourage the community to work towards achieving the other goals in the coming years in order to develop systems for long term economic and ecological development.
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Core team
Merwyn and Ittisha have known the people of Sangti since 2018 when they had taken a group of school children to Sangti for their summer camp. Seeing waste being littered everywhere in the beautiful village they organized a clean-up drive led by the children. In 2019, Namgey Khandu got in touch with them and expressed the community's desire to organize a music festival to attract tourists and generate revenue. With this came about the idea of Monyul Gathering, an annual cultural festival and the five year plan for Sangti (details provided in external links). In February 2020, the team of Further and Beyond Foundation in collaboration with Hum and the Monpa community organized the Monyul Gathering and initiated the waste management program as part of the 5 year plan. This led to the formation of the core team which is now working towards making Sangti a Zero Waste Village.

Core Team-

Ittisha Sarah-
Co-founder, Northeast Waste Collective (the waste vertical of Further and Beyond Fondation)
MDes (Social Design) from Ambedkar University, Delhi.
She is leading this project.

Merwyn Coutinho-
Co-founder, Further and Beyond Foundation and Northeast Waste Collective

Lina Baishya-
An Architect friend and a volunteer. She has recently been selected for the master program of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture at UIC, Barcelona
 

Core team members from the community-

Dorjee Letro- Public leader, homestay owner
Tashi Dorjee- Gen. Sec. of All Sangti Khremi Youth Welfare Association
Namgey Khandu- Monk, member of Buddhist Society, campsite and homestay owner
Sangey Nima- Member of women self help group, homestay owner
Leiki Wangmu, Yeshi Pema, Dechen, Namgey, Tsering Jomba- young women members of the waste management team
(Farming is the main ocupation of all the members listed above)
Mon Stars (Stars of the Monpas)- Group of children actively advocating and practicing waste management
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Image gallery
Makeshift Material Recovery Facility

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Door to door training for waste segregation and distribution of sacks for storing dry waste

image: Merwyn Coutinho | © all rights reserved
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Makeshift Material Recovery Facility under construction

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Waste brought to the Material Recovery Facility for segregation and storage

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Site preparation for construction of Material Recovery Facility by local builders

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Segregation of waste by village waste management team

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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River bank clean-up by the village waste management team

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Upcycling of tetra packets into wallets-Children's workshop

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Collection of waste from Shops to be taken to MRF

image: Not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Ittisha Conducting awareness workshops with Mon Stars

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Installation of dustbins at Garbage Vulnerable Points

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Making dustbins with locally available resources

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Ittisha conduction door-to-door awareness campaign

image: Leiki Wangmu | © all rights reserved
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Storing of waste at the Makeshift MRF

image: Merwyn Coutinho | © all rights reserved
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Indo Tibetan Border Police Force participates in clean-up drive

image: Merwyn Coutinho | © all rights reserved
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Waste transported to the Material Recovery Facility

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Material Recovery Facility Construction Preparation

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Awareness Creation

image: Leiki Wangmu | © all rights reserved
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Clean-up drive by Mon Stars

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Clean-up drive by Mon Stars and Waste Management Team

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Master Plan

image: Ron Bezbarua | © all rights reserved
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Material Recovery Facility-Design Intent and Floor Plan

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Material Recovery Facility- Front Elevation and Section

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Office Area- Ground Floor Plan and Meeting Place- First Floor Plan and 3D Block View

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Playground Area- Concept and Inspiration

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Material Recovery Facility- 3D Block Interior and Exterior view

image: not applicable | © all rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!
8 October 2021
Another € 2,305 raised
Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
We have been able to create a makeshift Material Recovery Facility in Sangti equipped for segregation and storage of dry recyclables temporarily. After several training sessions and awareness workshops with the community we have also been able to achieve source segregation of waste and start door-to-door collection of dry waste led by waste collectors from the community. The waste collectors are also segregating the waste into different categories of recyclables to be channelized for recycling. 

In terms of human resources we have waste collectors, managers, builders from the community and an architect.

We have also been able to raise a sum of 4 lakhs so far.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
28% funding already raised
60% expertise already found
70% materials / equipment already found
70% builders already found
Finance: € 11,420
Additional funding will enable us to create a permanent infrastructure for waste management in Sangti which can have new associated functions, with the meeting place and the playground serving as venues for social interactions, educational activities, training, workshops, movie screenings, recreation and leisure. Financial support will help us set up the waste management infrastructure in a way that makes jobs in waste management formal, dignified and professional. This will also be the first Material Recovery Facility in Arunachal Pradesh paving the way for other mountain villages in the region to emulate the model and move towards becoming Zero Waste Communities. 
  • Construction of Meeting Place
6,873
  • Construction of Meeting Place
3,436
  • Construction of Playground Area
1,111
Skills: Technique, Design, Financial advice
Design and Technique-
  • Expertise in using ecobricks and glass bottles as building blocks for the MRF and the meeting place respectively.
  • Expertise in developing the playground area by repurposing, reusing and upcycling waste materials.

Financial advice
To lower cost of contruction will also be helpful.
Makeshift Material Recovery Facility for storage

image: Ron Bezbarua | © all rights reserved
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Stuff: Equipment & tools
Equipments-
  • Plastic waste shredder
  • Manual baler
  • Projector for movie screenings for IEC activities
Waste Materials-
Tyres for making objects to play with for the playground.
Waste being transported to the Material Recovery Facility

image: Ittisha Sarah | © all rights reserved
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Hands
Volunteer requirement-
  • Any volunteer builder experienced in building structures with ecobricks, glass bottles as building blocks.
  • Any volunteer builder experienced in repurposing waste materials to create outdoor playing objects.
Benefits for the voluteers-
  • Gain experience in community architecture incorporating waste materials in construction.
  • Gain experience in co-designing and co-creating with the community.
Making dustbins using locally available materials

image: Merwyn Coutinho | © all rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!
Location
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